By Rick Nathanson, Albuquerque Journal
July 24, 2022
There is an inextricable link between poverty and literacy – particularly between child poverty and literacy, according to education experts. And for many New Mexicans, the relationship is generational.
That is grim news for New Mexico, which had a poverty rate in 2021 of 19.1% – the third highest in the country and well above the national poverty rate of 13.4%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate is even higher for New Mexico’s children: 28% of children under age 5 live in poverty and 25% of children under age 18 live in poverty. (The 2021 federal poverty level for a family of four was $26,500 a year.)
Meanwhile, the 2021 Kids Count Data Book for New Mexico shows that 76% of fourth graders and 79% of eighth graders are not proficient in reading, more than 25% of high school students do not graduate on time, and nearly 12% of teenagers are neither in school nor working. Among adults, 29% read at the level of a 5- to 7-year-old.
Read more at the Albuquerque Journal